Tinubu Sends Islamic Leaders to Niger for Another Dialogue

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After a meeting with top clerics, led by Sheikh Bala Lau, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, President Bola Tinubu is said to have given his approval over the second journey of a delegation of Islamic leaders (Ulama) to Niger Republic for a fresh round of dialogue with the coup leaders.

Earlier on the 9th of August 2023, president Tinubu received the Islamic leaders in Abuja and approved their request to intervene in the face-off between the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Niger Republic over the coup that forcefully ended the Mohamed Bazoum-led democratic administration.

Their intervention, backed up an earlier move by ECOWAS, which already sent a mission led by former Nigerian military Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, was successful as the islamic leaders delegation became the first interface between the regional bloc and head of the junta, General Abdourahamane Tchiani.

However, President Tinubu, who is also the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS, encouraged the clerics at a meeting on Thursday to continue with their dialogue with the junta; expressing his preference for a peaceful resolution. Although noting that all options are still on the table.

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, said after the meeting that President had urged the Ulama to intensify dialogue; as he is interested in exploring peaceful options.

“The Council of Ulamas has returned to the President for the second time, to give a report on their ongoing dialogue with the military junta and other stakeholders in Niger. They have briefed Mr President on the situation and the effort is ongoing.

“Mr President has listened to them and will continue this dialogue. He is interested in exploring peaceful options, but nothing is off the table. He has asked the Ulamas to continue with their dialogue and they will continue to do that”, he said.

Speaking on what the next line of action will be, Idris said: “the next line of action is that dialogue will continue. Mr President, as the head of ECOWAS, is interested in pursuing resolution of this crisis; but like I said, nothing is off the table. Mr President has said they should continue to engage and the Ulamas will continue to do that.

“By the way, he has appreciated their efforts to finding solution to this issue, he’s encouraging them to continue. He has thanked them, and efforts are ongoing”, the Minister said.

Leader of the delegation of the Ulama, Sheikh Bala Lau, also spoke after the meeting and called for prayers from the entire West African sub-region; saying that the body of clerics offered to intervene because they do not want war in the sub-region.

He further confirmed the information earlier given by the Minister that the team will be returning to Niger to continue with dialogue and expressed optimism and believe that a peaceful approach will yield the desired results.

“First and foremost, we thank Allah for giving us the opportunity and we appreciate and commend the efforts of His Excellency the President and as you saw, we have just met with him and told him all what went on there in Niger and he appreciated, and he still gave us the mandate that we should continue to take this dialogue and discuss with the junta over there because they gave us listening ears and we are sure, through peaceful discussions we’ll be able to achieve what we want.

“We are still going back there to ensure that through peaceful and amicable ways, as spiritual leaders, we’ll be able to do and contribute what we can be able to do. What we want? We don’t want war, we want peace to reign in our region. So may Allah continue to bless the President for giving us this opportunity.

“We want serious and fervent prayers from the entire community, across the region so that Allah will grant us that, so that peace and harmony will continue to reign. Without peace and harmony, there’s nothing we can do, we can’t even enjoy the dividends of democracy and you cannot even practice your religion. I’m optimistic, Insha Allah, with this intervention, Allah will answer our prayers,” Lau said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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